Postdoctoral Research

Under the auspices of the Instituto de Filosofía at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, in Santiago, Chile, and the supervision of Prof. José Tomás Alvarado, I am currently engaged in postdoctoral research in the philosophy of cosmology. My project is funded by CONICYT-FONDECYT, Postdoctoral Project No. 3170446.

A more complete description of the project can be found in the full research proposal on my page.

My project is titled “Aristotelian Causes in Modern Cosmology? Charles de Koninck’s Philosophy of Science.” An abstract of this project follows. If you are interested in my research or think that I should hear of your research for my project, please do contact me, as the project has a cosmopolitan character. I aim to methodically learn from as many insights as I can gather regarding my projects’ questions.

Aristotelian Causes in Modern Cosmology?
Charles de Koninck’s Philosophy of Science

This project aims to address whether an updated Thomistic-Aristotelian philosophy of cosmology is possible and, if so, if it is a promising and necessary resolution to current problems in the field. My doctoral dissertation investigated the relationship between the philosophy of nature and the specific sciences, using cosmology as a primary example. I focused this topic by drawing on the work of Charles De Koninck. My postdoctoral work aims to articulate a Thomistic-Aristotelian philosophy of cosmology. While it is in continuity with the work completed in my dissertation, this line of postdoctoral research aims to substantially expand upon the foundation I laid by extending the investigation into the nature of cosmology as a science and the ontological and epistemological claims that cosmology assume or requires. Since my doctoral work is based on the philosophy of science of Charles De Koninck, I aim to retain his writings as a touchstone of this postdoctoral project.

There are certain prerequisites that ground any philosophy of cosmology. They are ontological, epistemological, and methodological in nature. In relation to these areas, the main hypotheses of the project are as follows:

  1. An updated Aristotelian causal ontology is adequate to account for the object of cosmology, i.e., the universe, in order to cogently understand the conclusions of cosmology.
  2. A renovated Aristotelian epistemology based upon form is adequate to the self-understanding of cosmology as a science existing in the human mind as a subject, inclusive of the necessary use of mathematics, symbolic constructs, and models.
  3. The philosophy of nature as a distinct inquiry (understood in light of De Koninck’s work) contributes ontological and epistemological grounds to cosmology and thereby supports its progress.

The project aims to provide a new exposition and defense of the prerequisite ontology, epistemology, and self-understanding of cosmology and thus, if accomplished, would provide the basis for a complete philosophy of cosmology. De Koninck’s work not only allows us to defend the fundamental ontology and epistemology necessary for a cogent philosophy of cosmology, but he also provides avenues to integrate the classical scholastic concepts of material causality, formal causality, agent causality, and final causality into the modern understanding of cosmology.

I aim to support the three main hypotheses at general and specific levels. Generally, the project aims to show how De Koninck’s Thomistic-Aristotelian philosophy of science can define the universe as a single, causally interacting set of substances characterized by orders of location, time, and causality, and including as formal parts inorganic, organic, and intelligent substantial kinds. In addition, De Koninck’s formulation of the Thomistic-Aristotelian theory of abstract conceptualization and intentionality permit solutions to current epistemological dilemmas in cosmology. More specifically, the project aims to show that De Koninck’s defense of formal causality allows for cogent connections between form and physical law, form and natural constants, as well as form and holism in the cosmos. His use of the scholastic notion of universal agent causality allows for a deeper philosophical understanding of forces at the cosmic scale. Finally, these theses regarding formal and agent causality permit a compelling defense of the cosmological anthropic principle to understand the finality or teleology of the cosmos.